Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A is for Autoimmune

Welcome to round 4 of Blogging Through the Alphabet! I've been trying to decide on a general theme for this round, or if I even wanted to have a theme or not. I think this round, we'll discuss diabetes, particularly Type 1, since it has such a major impact upon our family.

Just what is autoimmunity?
Autoimmunity is the failure of an organism in recognizing its own constituent parts as self, thus leading to an immune response against its own cells and tissues. Any disease that results from such an aberrant immune response is termed an autoimmune disease. (Wikipedia)
True, Type 1 Diabetes is not the only autoimmune disease. Here is a List of Autoimmune and Autoimmune-Related Diseases.
Particular autoimmune disorders are frequently classified into organ-specific disorders and non-organ-specific types. Autoimmune processes can have various results, for example, slow destruction of a specific type of cells or tissue, stimulation of an organ into excessive growth, or interference in its function. Organs and tissues frequently affected include the endocrine gland, such as thyroid, pancreas, and adrenal glands; components of the blood, such as red blood cells; and the connective tissues, skin, muscles, and joints. Some autoimmune diseases fall between the two types. Patients may experience several organ-specific diseases at the same time. There is, however little overlap between the two ends of the spectrum.

In organ-specific disorders, the autoimmune process is directed mostly against one organ. Examples, with the organ affected, include Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (thyroid gland), pernicious anemia (stomach), Addison’s disease (adrenal glands), and type 1 diabetes (pancreas).

In non-organ-specific disorders, autoimmune activity is widely spread throughout the body. Examples include rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE or lupus), and dermatomyositis.
(American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association, Inc.)

As you know, if you've been following my blog for awhile, that Jen has Type 1 Diabetes. This coming January it will be ten years ago when she was diagnosed. While we lived in Florida, her brothers and I participated in a study to help determine family connection. The boys always tested negative for any of the antibodies, but I tested positive for two or three antibodies connected with diabetes.

Unfortunately the testing ended when we moved here to Mississippi. It's really time for me to have some blood work done again! I'll let you know what I find out, when/if I am able to get that blood work done. ;-)

I hope you'll continue following along on this round of Blogging Through the Alphabet! In the meantime, have a great week!

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